Federal government gives Toronto $14M to operate voluntary quarantine facility

Sep 11 2020, 8:51 am

The federal government is providing almost $14 million in funding to operate a voluntary quarantine facility for people with COVID-19 who can’t safely isolate at home.

The facility, will be operated and staffed by Toronto Public Health, and is the first of its kind in Canada.

The voluntary isolation site is located in a hotel with a capacity of up to 140 individuals who are isolating for a two-week period.

On Friday, the announcement was made by the Minister of Health Patty Hajdu with Mayor John Tory, Dr. Eileen de Villa and Councillor and Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy.

“This program would not be possible without the generous support of our federal partners, who have provided $13.9 million for the site to operate over the next year. I want to especially recognize the commitment of Minister Hajdu and Deputy Prime Minister Freeland to making this site a reality,” Cressy, said in a statement.

Cressy added that since the start of the pandemic, doctors and public health experts have stressed the importance of self-isolating if one tests positive. However, many Toronto homes can’t provide the necessary space for people.

“When individuals do not have enough space to self-isolate apart from family members, the risk of household transmission of COVID-19 is high,” he said.

And through preliminary data analysis, COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting lower-income households, people who identify as members of a racialized group, and individuals who live in households with five or more people.

“For these households, a safe place to go away from home can make all the difference between containing the virus and infecting an entire family, including members who may be high-risk,” the councillor noted.

During case and contact tracing follow-up, Toronto Public Health will interview people who would benefit from the use of the isolation site, and seek their voluntary agreement.

And family members of a person who tests positive may also be eligible.

Clients are required to self-isolate at the facility for up to 14 days, or until they are asymptomatic.

According to Cressy, people will be provided with daily meals, bedding, cleaning, and other incidentals, and will have a regular check in by phone with Toronto Public Health staff.

He also mentioned that isolation sites have been used successfully in New York, Chicago, and Wuhan, China, to reduce community transmission.

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